Elliott False Cathedrals

Not content with sticking to the restricting and overdone emo rock conventions that have pretty much killed what was once a vital and meaningful genre, Elliott are determined to follow the inspirational lead of such contemporaries as Sense Field and Sunny Day Real Estate to expand their sound. From the opening piano strains of "Voices," which come courtesy of drummer Kevin Ratterman and carries through to the second track, "Calm Americans," it's obvious Elliott are bound and determined to not just break free of the emo label, but run as quickly and as far away from it as they can. That's not to say they've entirely abandoned their roots, "Blessed by Your Own Ghosts" and "Dying Midwestern" offer up that familiar soft-loud-soft dynamic that they employed so well on their 1999 debut, U.S. Songs. But on balance, the record is evidence of a band looking to grow, mature and try new and different things to satisfy their own artistic desires. It probably would have been easy for them to simply rehash the U.S. Songs formula, but where's the challenge in that? The challenge for the band was making the record they wanted without fear of negative fan reaction. (Revelation)